Monday, July 26, 2010

Alfredo Veggie Bacon Bake

I have been watching way to much FoodNetwork at my in-laws. (A real weakness.) I really like the show "Chopped" and every time I am cooking, I feel like one of the chefs competing with secret ingredients. It was my turn to cook at the Stewart house, and I was plum out of ideas... until I found a package of bacon, that is. (The secret ingredient.) I came up with this little casserole creation that made a big crowd happy! This is a WONDERFUL way to sneak in the veggies. I used a whole head of cauliflower and broccoli in this and you would NEVER KNOW! (This would be a good one with chicken too!)

Alfredo Veggie Bacon Bake (By Lyd)
1 package pasta, cooked and drained according to package instructions
1 lb bacon, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic minced
1 head cauliflower and 1 head broccoli, cut from stem- flowered in tact
1 bell pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
1 bottle Alfredo sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Cook and drain noodles. Place cauliflower and broccoli in a pot with about 1 inch boiling water. Put a lid on the pot and steam for about 5 minutes to soften veggies. When softened and cooled, roughly chopped and place in a 9x13 baking dish with drained noodles. Meanwhile, cook bacon well and saute onion, garlic, and pepper in some of bacon drippings. Place in baking dish and pour in Alfredo sauce over top and stir together. Sprinkle cheeses over the top and Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and heated through.
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Friday, July 23, 2010

Lime Cupcakes with Lime Frosting

10 limes for $1, I just couldn't pass it up, and I am so glad I didn't! The citrus lime flavor transforms a boring cupcake into something fresh and summery! I love what it did to the icing!
I am quite tickled with myself making cute cupcakes- it is something I have always stunk at, but I made these for my sisters birthday party and I was so happy with how they turned out, and with how easy it was to frost them! I guess what I am getting at, is that if I can make cute cupcakes, then you certainly can too! :)

Lime Cupcakes with Lime Frosting
(Adapted from

Makes 24 cupcakes

Preparation time: 30 min.
Baking time: 23 min.


  • Cake Ingredients
    • 3 - cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 - Tablespoon baking powder
    • 1/2 - teaspoon salt
    • 1-1/2 - cups sugar
    • 3/4 - cup Butter, softened
    • 4 - eggs
    • 1 - Tablespoon vanilla
    • 1 - cup milk
    • The zest and juice of 1-2 limes
  • Frosting Ingredients
    • 3/4 - cup Butter, softened
    • 6 - cups powdered sugar
    • 1/8 - teaspoon salt
    • 1 - Tablespoon half and half or milk
    • 1 - teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lime peel (I zested 2 times)
    • 2 Tablespoons lime juice (the juice of 2 limes)
    • 2 - Tablespoons light corn syrup



Preheat oven to 350�F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. Set aside.

  1. Stir together flour, baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in large bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat sugar and 3/4 cup butter at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until creamy.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon vanilla, and lime zest and juice.
  5. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition, just until mixed.
  6. Divide batter evenly among cupcake cups and bake for 23 to 28 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.
  7. Cool on wire racks 10 minutes and remove cupcakes from pans. Cool completely.


  1. In a large bowl, beat 3/4 cup butter at medium speed until creamy.
  2. Gradually add powdered sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt alternately with half & half and 1 teaspoon vanilla, lime peel and juice, scraping bowl often, until well mixed.
  3. Stir in corn syrup.
  4. Frost cupcakes. (I scooped all my frosting into a zip-lock bag, got air out and sealed tightly. Then I cut about 1/4 inch off the end and piped icing out in a circle starting on the outside of the cupcake and moving into the center. I garnished with a lime slice.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sweetened-Up Corn-on-the-Cob

I don't ever get tired of your typical salted and buttered corn on the cob-- sometimes I still pretend I'm Donald Duck and it's a typewriter. (You know just the scene I mean if you have seen that Dinsey cartoon- you've probably tried it yourself! :) There were a few years there with my braces that I just couldn't do corn-on-the-cob and it just about killed me. I love the mess- I even love the pieces that get stuck in your teeth. Just a couple hundred kernels of sunshine! Additionally... my Momma Stew showed me this little trick to sweeten it up and really smother that cob in butter, and I thought it was quite clever.

Sweetened-Up Corn-on-the-Cob
Corn, husked
1 cube butter
1 T sugar

Boil corn cobs for about2 minutes in a big pot of water. Melt 1 cube of butter in the oven in a 9x13 pan and stir in sugar until dissolved. Roll cobs in butter or drizzle over cooked and drained cobs. (It is so much easier to coat them and it gives it a yummy sweet flavor.)
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Spaghetti Sub

My Momma-in-law came up with this yummy creation. Makes a yummy dinner on a busy night!

Spaghetti Sub
1 loaf of French or Sour Dough bread, halved lengthwise
1 lb ground beef
1 onion finely chopped
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1-2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 cups cheese

Brown meat with onion and season with salt and pepper; drain. Pour in spaghetti sauce and stir. Spread over loaf half and sprinkle with cheese. Bake 350 until cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Chicken Bruschetta Sandwiches

You are going to love this one! This is such a fresh, delecious sandwich- perfect for summer! (Or any season for that matter.) I sped things along by cooking my chicken in the crockpot on low for a few hours drenched in Italian Dressing. I can usually make two meals out of it when I do that- I sliced up half for this and chopped the other half for some chicken salad the next day. It is a great way to make the meat stretch a little bit. But you can use a whole chicken breast if you like. I just loved the flavor and that it just feels lighter- this isn't one of those sandwiches that just sits there, heavy in your stomach. I made a few changes to make this a lighter sandwich. So good and so easy!

Lyd's Tip: For a lighter sandwich, leave the lid off (not "Lyd" :). I had a room-mate in college that showed me that trick and I thought it was a great idea. That piece for "filler" bread just contains added calories that you don't really need. It is like unveiling a bunch of flavor and the actual "sandwich" under that bread... you might just find you like it and the way you feel later. It doesn't have to have two pieces of bread to qualify as a sandwich, does it? :)

Chicken Bruschetta Sandwiches (Adapted from Simple and Delicious)
2 cups chopped plum tomatoes (I just chopped up what I had)
1/2 cup minced fresh basil (I didn't have fresh on hand so I used about 1-2 tsp of dried)
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion (I used a green onion)
3/4 cup Italian salad dressing, divided (I also cut some fat by leaving this out because I slow-cooked the chicken in it. I found that it I let the tomato mixture sit for a bit, it created enough moisture.)
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)
4 slices Italian bread (1 inch thick), toasted (I used whole wheat bread, but to give it a bit of flavor, I toasted it with a bit of butter and garlic salt. The flavors meshed really well.)
4 slices part-skim mozzarella cheese

In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, basil, onion and 1/2 cup dressing; set aside. Flatten chicken to 1/4-in. thickness.
Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat for 3-5 minutes on each side or until juices run clear, basting occasionally with remaining dressing. Layer each slice of toast with a chicken breast, cheese slice and tomato mixture. Yield: 4 servings.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving equals 517 calories, 27 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 78 mg cholesterol, 1,233 mg sodium, 31 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 35 g protein.
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Monday, July 12, 2010

Chocolate Chip-Banana Bread Pudding

I love bread pudding, but I love it even more when all I have to do is throw it into the crockpot! I found this recipe, and was feeling lazy, so that is just what I did, and I think it is so much easier then "steam-bathing" it in the oven or whatever else you might do. This ended up being a great "post 4th of July" dessert- we had a bunch of left-over hamburger and hot dog buns, so that is what I used! We also had a plethera of banana's, so this was a great fit. This is a yummy, rich, no-hassle treat!

Chocolate Chip-Banana Bread Pudding with Carmel Topping (Adapted from
4 eggs
2 cups milk
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 cups cubed French bread (I used left-over buns and just broke them up into 1 to 2 inch pieces.)
2 bananas, sliced
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

(If you are going to crockpot it like me, put your bread pieces bananas and chocolate chips tossed around in the bottom and pour the liquid mixture over the top. Let it cook on low for about 3 hours. DOES IT GET EASIER THEN THAT? Then throw a little caramel topping on for good measure. MMMmmm!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
In a large mixing bowl, mix eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in bread, bananas, and chocolate chips, and let rest 5 minutes for bread to soak. Pour into prepared pan.
Line a roasting pan with a damp kitchen towel. Place loaf pan on towel inside roasting pan, and place roasting pan on oven rack. Fill roasting pan with water to reach halfway up the sides of the loaf pan. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Lime-Marinated Chicken and Tomatillo-Corn Salsa

I came across this recipe and thought it would be a fun one to try. The salsa sounded really different and good. I didn't realize it would require so much TLC- a little too many steps for my typical cooking, but I thought it was delicious. The chicken marinade was simple and it gave the chicken such a fresh burst of flavor. I am also now a BIG FAN of grilled corn-- really like! This isn't your typical salsa either- had the spice, but a sweet taste in there too- kind of fun for a change! Over-all this one is a little too labor intensive for me to want to make very often, but so good if you have the time... or decide to make the time.

Lime-Marinated Chicken and Tomatillo-Corn Salsa (Better Homes and Gardens)
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice and zest of one lime
1 Tbsp. minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
Tomatillo-Corn Salsa
2 1/2-inch-thick slices yellow onion
5 tomatillos, (about 1/2 lb.) papery skins removed, rinsed
1 ear fresh sweet corn, husked
1 medium poblano chile, 3 to 4 inches long
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 tsp. brown sugar
1/2 cup sour cream (I was low on sour cream so I used about half ranch and it was really good!)
Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Fresh lime wedges, sliced jalapeƱo peppers, and cilantro sprigs

1. Remove tenders from underside of each breast if present (save for another use). One at a time, place each breast, smooth side down, between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Pound to even 1/2-inch thickness (see "pounding chicken," below).
2. In large resealable bag combine the 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 Tbsp. of the lime juice, the garlic, salt and pepper. Add chicken, press air out of bag, and seal. Turn to coat evenly. Marinate, refrigerated, for 1 to 2 hours.
3. Prepare grill for direct cooking over medium heat (about 400 degrees F). Prepare Tomato-Corn Salsa: Brush onion, tomatillos, corn, and chile with olive oil. Grill vegetables over direct medium heat, with lid closed as much as possible, until onions are lightly charred, tomatillos soften and begin to collapse, corn is tender, and chile is softened and lightly charred, turning as needed. (About 10 minutes for onion, and 12 to 15 minutes for tomatillos and chiles.) Place chile in bowl. Cover with plastic; let steam 10 minutes.Peel off skin from chile; discard. Remove stem and seeds. Place vegetables (except corn), cilantro, brown sugar, and 1/4 tsp. salt in food processor or blender. Whirl until pureed; stir in corn. Add more brown sugar or salt to taste.
4. Increase grill temperature to high (about 500 degrees F) or add additional coals and heat until high heat is reached. Remove chicken from bag, letting excess liquid drip back into bag; discard liquid. Grill chicken, smooth side down, over direct high heat, with lid closed as much as possible, until well marked, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn; grill just until cooked all the way through, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a platter.
5. In bowl whisk together sour cream, the 1 Tbsp. olive oil, lime zest, remaining juice, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. To serve, spoon salsa over chicken. Pass lime sour cream, lime wedges, sliced jalapeƱos, and cilantro. Makes 6 servings.
Pounding Chicken:Jamie pounds his chicken, so that it cooks faster and more evenly. Place chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using a flat meat mallet or rolling pin, gently pound meat, starting at the thicker end of the breast and pounding to an even 1/2-inch thickness.
Direct Grilling:For this method, the food is placed on the grill rack directly over the heat source. Direct grilling is best for searing and cooking small, tender cut that cook in 30 minutes or less, such as steaks, burgers, or boneless chicken.

Nutrition Facts
Calories 328,
Total Fat (g) 16,
Saturated Fat (g) 4,
Monounsaturated Fat (g) 9,
Polyunsaturated Fat (g) 2,
Cholesterol (mg) 96,
Sodium (mg) 579,
Carbohydrate (g) 10,
Total Sugar (g) 2,
Fiber (g) 1,
Protein (g) 37,
Vitamin C (DV%) 1.07,
Calcium (DV%) 5,
Iron (DV%) 10,
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Cheesy Turkey Chowder

We had Thanksgiving a little early this year... :) My mother-in-law cooked up a delicious turkey for Sunday dinner this last week, and I think it is just a CRYING SHAME to throw out all the drippings. Sure they are loaded with fat... ok, they are fat, :) but they are also loaded with amazing flavor that you just can't coax out of a bullion cube, no matter how hard you try. SOOOoo... I set to work on some delicious soup that only took about 30 minutes to make. It was easy and completely flavorful. This was a fabulous way to use up those turkey left-overs! I had some left-over rice and mashed potatoes and a bit of gravy that I threw in and why not add stuffing too? :) I know I'm a bit out of season with this one, but I hope you'll remember this one when Turkey Day rolls around- I know I will.

Cheesy Turkey Chowder (found here from CDKitchen)

4 cups turkey or chicken broth
1 1/2 cup diced potatoes
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced onions
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 tablespoon soy sauce
8 ounces processed cheese spread, cubed (Why would you go to all this trouble to make delicious soup, and ruin it with fake cheese... do me a favor and throw in some REAL cheddar or something worthy of it's surrounding ingredients! Just throwing my opinion out there, for what it's worth. :)
2 cups chopped cooked turkey


Combine the broth and the vegetables in a large sauce pan. Cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over low heat. Add the flour, stirring until smooth. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Gradually stir in the milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Gradually stir in the vegetable mixture, soy sauce, cheese and turkey. Cook until the cheese melts and the soup is thoroughly heated.

This recipe from CDKitchen for Cheesy Turkey Chowder serves/makes 2.5 qt.